In an interview with Kasha Butler, the Executive Director behind the Face of Today Foundation, we delved into the passion and purpose that fuels her commitment to making a positive impact in the community. Kasha shared insights into the foundation’s mission, the challenges faced, and the transformative moments that have shaped its journey.
Describe your charity in a few sentences.
Face of Today Foundation is a resource and support centre serving vulnerable youth and their families in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Grandview, Woodlands neighbourhoods. We partner with like-minded community members and after-school programs to provide valuable wrap-around support to the youth we serve through our C.A.R.E values, short for Community, Accountability, Resiliency, Empowerment. These wrap-around supports include, but are not limited to; access to professional tutoring and professional clinical counsellors, weekly mentorship and leadership sessions, as well as access to healthy snacks and hot meals that are served at all of our evening programs. In addition, we offer emergency grants and grocery support for families to ensure that our support extends past our centre walls and into the daily lives of the youth we support.
We acknowledge that the Face of Today resource centre is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples who have been stewards of this land from time immemorial.
What are the realities or challenges faced by the demographics your organization supports?
Face of Today supports over 150 youth who attend Vancouver’s most impoverished schools, categorized as Tier 1 schools by the Vancouver School Board. The vast majority of the youth we serve are IBPOC – Indigenous, Black People of Colour (99%), live in social housing (82%) and come from single parent/guardian households (60%) that often fall well below the poverty line.
When did you start/join it?
I took on the role of ED in 2021.
What was the situation like when you started?
Face of Today’s resource centre opened in September 2019, which left us in a challenging position in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. We finally had a space to run programs, however we needed to pivot in order to provide the new type of support that our partner organizations and youth needed.
Thankfully, this allowed us the time to build meaningful relationships and partnerships with these community organizations, which meant that we were able to seamlessly slip into the gaps that youth fell between during the pandemic. We were able to provide critical support when other organizations had to shut their doors. The trust that was built in this time has carried us forward to deepen these partnerships and to be able to continue adapting and shifting to wherever the needs of our youths fall.
What more needs to be done?
After 4 years at our location in Gastown, we have quickly outgrown our space and made the strategic decision to move our resource centre. When selecting a new venue for our Face of Today home, the most important factor was geographic accessibility for our youth. In the current Gastown location, youth travel by bus or public transportation which can take upwards of 40 minutes roundtrip. The majority of the youth we serve live in the Britannia, Grandview, Commercial, and Strathcona neighbourhoods. Finding a location that was within their existing community not only allows for a decrease in the cost/time of transportation, but it also allows us to become a stronger member and ally for our youth in their community.
The location of 1st Avenue and Commercial Street is within a 10-block walking distance from most of the youth we work with and provides access to countless services. The location allows us to strategically place ourselves within the existing supports the youth utilize regularly and allows us to maximize the time spent in the Centre accessing programming. The goal is to be in the new centre in 2025.
How can our readers help?
Face of Today is in a very privileged position to receive administrative funding from a family foundation, however, our operational costs remain high. As the cost of groceries and living increases, the families we serve are consistently having to make the decision between food, rent or necessities. We kindly ask the public to support in providing donations on our website with the knowledge that 100% of their donation will go straight to supporting youth in our programs.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Girls Who LEAP and ShEvalesco are two amazing community organizations that we are so proud to support and deserve a lot of credit for what they are doing in the community.